THE WORK OF MAN
The rosewood monopoly -- Agriculture and rural life -- The Sugar mills -- Slavery regulated, an elementary technique and cheap labor -- The discovery of gold and the penetration of the back country -- Mining in Minas and Mato Grosso -- The hunting of the Indian -- The pasturage of Piauí, Goiaz and Rio Grande -- Old and new ways -- The greatness of human effort -- Geographic limits and economic frontiers -- The American interior and the Brazilian interior: similarities and differences -- The coffee plantation -- Once more, a single crop economy with a slave-owning basis -- The concentration of wealth in the hands of the great owners -- Economic life and social classes -- Industrial workers in the Colony and in the Empire -- Cultivation on a large and a small scale -- Ports and coastwise navigation -- Transportation and commerce -- The tax system -- The high point of industry and the phenomena of concentration -- The variety and inequality among economic and cultural centers -- The extractive industries -- The exploitation of the subsoil.
ON THE IMMENSE STAGE of the discovered lands, open along the coast to the vastness of the sea and enclosed toward the interior by a limitless solitude, for almost half a century after the discovery the white conqueror added nothing to the natural landscape. Everything conspired to retard the occupation of the geographic environment by the white man, who left traces of his passage only in a spot here and there along the interminable coast: the enormous distances which separated Portugal from the new world; the vastness of the territory, together with all the poetry of mystery and all the dangers of the unknown; and the difficulties faced by a small country with a scant population in populating new territories. While the Portuguese, wavering between the glories of his adventures and his plans for colonization, was preparing to settle in the new geographic surroundings, one could see, in the natural landscapes that remained untouched and protected from the domination of the white man, only the humble clearings of Indian villages and lodges, in the heart of forests or along the banks of rivers, and the constant sorties to the shore of wandering tribes who left their ephemeral remains upon the sands of the beaches. The action of man as a geographic agent modifying the landscape was inevitably slow in a country whose territorial extension was to be "the pride of future Brazilians, but also their weakness," and of which, four centuries later, there still remained approximately 4,800,000 square kilometers out of a total area of 8,500,000 with a density like that of a desert, or less than one inhabitant per square kilometer.1 Everything in this land of apparently easy life was "disequilibrium," writes Gilberto Freyre. "Great excesses and great lacks, those of a new country. The soil, with____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Brazilian Culture:An Introduction to the Study of Culture in Brazil. Contributors: Fernando de Azevedo - Author, William Rex Crawford - Translator. Publisher: Macmillan. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1950. Page number: 43.
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